Freedom Holds On To Defeat Whitehall in D11/2 Quarterfinal Matchup
The Freedom Patriots used a solid defensive effort and created four turnovers Friday night at BASD Stadium to propel themselves into the 4A sub-regional semifinals next week at Easton by defeating Whitehall 17-14. This was the second time this season that they defeated the Zephyrs.
The Patriots last defensive stand kept their three-point lead in tact when Linebacker Brady Hornbaker picked off Gianni Sinatore on the goal with under a minute remaining in the contest to seal the deal.
“It is a blur, I just remember following the play and next thing I know the ball hit me, I ran and just fell down,” stated a jubilant Hornbaker afterwards. “I didn’t realize I had the ball at first,” he added.
Jake Young started the turnover barrage in the opening quarter by taking an errant Sinatore pass on a bobbing and weaving 50 yard jaunt to the end zone to open the scoring. The defense also recovered two fumbles in the contest.
“We talked about turnovers during the off season. We really focused on it and we worked hard trying to change how we take care of the ball on offense as well as creating turnovers on defense from what we did a year ago,” Freedom’s coach Jason Roeder stated.
Freedom’s defense held Whitehall star RB Saquon Barkley in check, who rushed for 110 yards, fumbled once and was stopped on a crucial fourth and Goal from the Patriot’s one yard line late in the second quarter. The Zephyrs hurt themselves with penalties at pivotal moments of the game, including a successful 33-yard FG, which was nullified by a penalty. This resulted in a missed 38-yard chance. A touchdown by Saquon Barkley was nullified by a penalty that resulted in no points for Whitehall. The only score the Zephyrs got on offense was a 13-yard pass from Sinatore to Zach Hixson in the second stanza. The other score came off a Chad Rex blocked punt, which Tyler Cyriax scooped up and took it to paydirt from 24 yards out.
The backbreaker came when Sinatore fumbled the ball and Freedom recovered on Zephs 46 with Whitehall leading 14-10. Two plays later Roberto Diaz broke off for a 40 yard scoring run at beginning of fourth quarter to give the Patriots the final margin of victory.
Coach Roeder talked about next week’s matchup with the Red Rovers at Cottingham Stadium, “We know what lies ahead for us. We don’t want this to end. We know how tough it is to play there. We just need to get back to work and get after it and see what happens,” he concluded.
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